Asian Pay Television Trust (APTT) has announced an ordinary interim distribution per unit (DPU) of 0.25 cents for the 1QFY2021 ended March, lower than the 0.30 cents declared in the prior year.

APTT reaffirmed its full-year distribution guidance of 1 cent in its quarterly financial results announcement on May 12. Unitholders will receive the interim distribution on June 25.

APTT recorded revenue of $74.4 million for the period, 6.2% lower y-o-y, mainly due to a 12.8% (in NT$) fall in revenue from basic cable tv following lower revenue generated from channel leasing, the absence of one-off revenue arising from the sale of certain in-house content to channel providers, as well as less airtime advertising sales. 

However, revenue from the broadband segment saw growth of 6.4% (in NT$) y-o-y despite a fall in ARPU by NT$1 to NT$355 per month, due to an increased number of subscribers. In addition, foreign exchange contributed to a positive variance of 3.1% for the quarter.

Subscribers for premium digital cable TV and broadband increased by some 6,000 and 5,000 respectively during the 1QFY2021, which more than offset basic cable TV churn.

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Meanwhile, total operating expenses saw a 6% decline y-o-y to $29 million, mainly due to lower staff costs and other operating expenses, as well as marginally lower broadcast and production costs.

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To that end, APTT reported ebitda of $45.4 million for the 1QFY2021, down 6% y-o-y, with ebitda margin coming in at 61%, compared to 60.9% the year before.

Despite the lower ebitda, APTT recorded earnings of $7.3 million for the period, up 20.8% y-o-y from $6 million previously, following a 33% y-o-y drop in income tax expense for the period. Earnings per share (EPS) amounts to 0.4 cents, compared to 0.42 cents the previous year.

Cash and cash equivalents stood at $108.7 million as at March 31.

“For three consecutive quarters compared to the prior corresponding period we have recorded revenue growth in both S$ and NT$ as we continue to win subscribers away from our main competitor. The number of broadband subscribers have increased by 18% in the last 27 months. Our already low churn rates for Broadband trended even lower to 0.7%, from 0.9% in the preceding quarter,” says Brian McKinely, CEO of the trustee-manager.

Going forward, the trustee-manager expected APTT to further strengthen its balance sheet as capital expenditure trends downwards and excess cash is used to pare down debts.

It expects the number of premium digital cable TV and broadband revenue generating units (RGUs) to continue increasing in 2021, though growth is not expected for basic cable TV RGUs due to the saturated market. The decline in demand for home shopping and competition from internet retailing will also continue to put pressure on channel leasing revenue.

While the trustee-manager notes that impact from Covid-19 on the business has been limited to date, uncertainties for Taiwan’s economy could potentially affect TBC’s ability to grow or maintain revenues.

Units in APTT closed flat at 11.2 cents on May 11.